BOEM and HeroX Launch “Better Call Trawl” Crowdsourcing Challenge

Release Date
(202) 341-9827

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is partnering with HeroX, a leading platform for crowdsourced solutions, to launch its newest crowdsourcing challenge, Better Call Trawl.

The focus of the challenge is to better understand the effectiveness of current relocation trawling methods for protecting sea turtles during offshore dredging operations. The competition invites data scientists and engineers, statisticians and other scientists to analyze BOEM’s data, evaluate the effectiveness of current sea turtle relocation trawling practices and develop an analytical tool that can help improve future protection efforts. The challenge will award up to $40,000 in prizes for top solutions. 

America’s beaches are eroding due to increases in sea level rise and storm surge. Sand resources are used for beach renourishment and coastal restoration. BOEM is the lead federal agency charged with regulating dredging in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to collect sand from the ocean floor. 

Sea turtles near the seabed are at risk of being caught in these dredges and injured, often lethally. To reduce the risk to these federally protected species, specialized trawling vessels are contracted to safely catch and relocate turtles away from the areas before and during dredging operations. However, little is known about how effective current relocation efforts are in preventing harm to sea turtles and what opportunities may exist for improvements.

Challenge participants are tasked with developing an analytical tool that will leverage BOEM data such as sea turtle movement, behavior, catch data from trawling and additional oceanographic data to evaluate and improve sea turtle relocation trawling during the dredging process.

THE CHALLENGE: Submit analytical tools, visualizations and dashboards using provided data to answer questions such as:

  • How many sea turtles does relocation trawling remove that were at risk of dredge capture?
  • How many sea turtles does relocation trawling remove that were not at risk of dredge capture?
  • How does the relocation trawling efficacy (at-risk sea turtles/not-at-risk sea turtles captured) change over the period of dredging? Throughout the year? With differing weather conditions?
  • What additional data could be collected to bolster your confidence in the conclusions?

THE PRIZE: Up to six winners may be selected to share the total prize amount of up to $40,000. Grand prize winner will be awarded $15,000.

More information on the challenge and eligibility requirements can be found at


BOEM's mission is to manage development of U.S. Outer Continental Shelf energy and mineral resources in an environmentally and economically responsible way. BOEM develops, funds, and manages rigorous scientific research studies to inform its policy decisions on offshore energy and mineral resource development.

BOEM’s Environmental Studies Program develops, funds, and manages rigorous scientific research specifically to inform policy decisions on the development of energy and mineral resources on the Outer Continental Shelf. Research covers physical oceanography, atmospheric sciences, biology, protected species, social sciences and economics, submerged cultural resources and environmental fates and effects. 


HeroX is a platform and open marketplace for crowdsourcing innovation and human ingenuity, co-founded in 2013 by serial entrepreneur Christian Cotichini and XPRIZE Founder and Futurist Peter Diamandis. HeroX offers a turnkey, easy-to-use platform that supports anyone, anywhere, to solve everyday business and world challenges using the power of the crowd. Uniquely positioned as the Social Network for Innovation, HeroX is the only place you can build, grow and curate your very own crowd.

-- BOEM --

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is responsible for America’s offshore energy and mineral resources. The bureau promotes energy independence, environmental protection and economic development through responsible, science-based management of energy and mineral resources on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.